Gastric band on the NHS



The fastest way to get a gastric band operation on the NHS
To get a gastric band on the NHS you will need to follow your doctors instructions carefully for some period of time, they will usually require you to diet extensively before they will consider putting you on the NHS waiting list.

What to expect from your doctor - Different doctors will recommend different courses of treatment before considering surgery, generally you will need to diet, diet and diet some more! They may offer prescription weightloss drugs to reduce appetite or stop fat being absourbed in to your body. Once the doctor is convinced that nothing but surgery will work, then you MAY be put on the NHS waiting list for a gastric band operation.

Many doctors are reluctant to put people forward for gastric band operations on the NHS, many doctors believe that all people can lose weight through diet an exercise. While scientifically this is true, many doctors fail to recognise the psychological side to obesity. They do not understand how hard it is to change the eating habits of a lifetime. Make no mistake about it, obesity is a psychological condition as much as it is a physical one, but getting your doctor to realise this may not be easy.
gastric bypass effect


How long is the waiting list?

The NHS waiting list for a gastric band operation can be as short as a few months but often much longer, and largely depends on the area you live in. On average, you can expect to wait at least 6 months from the time your doctor refers you.

Private health care
If you have enough money, or private health insurance, you can get your operation performed much faster without having to stay on the NHS waiting list. The cost of going private varies significantly but you can expect to pay around £10,000.

Going Abroad
If you want a gastric band operation for a good price, the place to go is Belgium. You can get a gastric band for about £4000 - £5000. The medical standard in Belgium is very high, they are clean, safe and professional.

Belgium is in Europe and therefore you have the comfort of knowing that your European health insurance card will entitle you to emergency care for free (or cheaper than usual) should you need it.

India is also a popular location for people seeking cheap gastric bands abroad.

The Operation

The gastric band operation is performed via keyhole surgery. Several small incisions are made around the stomach area to allow access for the various medical instruments required to complete the operation.

The operation usually takes less than an hour, including preparation time.

After the operation
After the operation you will need multiple follow up visits to have your band adjusted.

The band can be tightened or loosened using a special port. The tighter the band, the less you can eat. The looser the band, the more you can eat.

It can take some time to get the tightness just right.

woman on scales

woman measuring thigh

Scales
Risks

Death
Gastric band operations are not 100% safe, it is a fact that people die from the operation. Approximately 1 in every 2000 patients will die as a result of their surgery*. Some people die on the operating table, some die later as a result of infection or a blood clot. All surgeries carry some degree of danger, the gastric band is no different.

Anaesthetics
Anaesthetics are far safer than they used to be, however they still pose risks, especially for the unhealthy, the elderly and the obese. Decreased health and fitness increases the risks associated with anaesthetics.

Slippage
Gastric bands can slip out of position, requiring more surgery.

Erosion
It is possible for the band to erode the wall of the stomach, especially if the band is fitted tightly. More surgery would be required to rectify the problem.

Leakage
The tightness of the band is increased and decreased using a special fluid, this fluid can leak requiring more surgery to repair it.

Infection
Infection is rare but potentially fatal, numerous gastric band patients have died as a result of infection.

Other gastric surgeries

Gastric balloon
A gastric balloon is a temporary weight loss device. Typically the balloon stays in the patients stomach for about 6 months.
The balloon fills up the stomach leaving less space for food, therefore, patients feel full after eating very little.

Gastric sleeve
The gastric sleeve is a relatively new procedure in which approximately 85% of the stomach is removed laparoscopically. After the procedure is complete, the stomach takes on the appearance of a tube, hence the name "gastric sleeve".

Gastric bypass
There are several types of gastric bypass, the logic behind each is to decrease the amount of space in the stomach for food.

All of these surgeries are effective, although he gastric balloon is only recommended for people with a small amount of weight to lose, due to it's temporary nature.

In summary

If you want to loose weight and have tried everything apart from surgery, then you can be forgiven for wanting a gastric band operation, but please remember the following;

The risks and dangers are very real, these include death.
It can be hard to get a gastric band on the NHS and paying privately could leave you in debt for years.
Complications including slippage and erosion could cause you great discomfort and require additional surgeries.

The choice is yours, thanks for reading.

Further reading
NHS weight loss advice

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This website is not affiliated with the NHS or any other government body.
Please consult a doctor before undertaking any weightloss regeime, surgical or otherwise.